What Does It Mean to Win?

Gia and Rindi

It takes a lot to achieve great success; and anyone who does so, deserves admiration. It does matter how you get there, as there are just as many right ways as there are wrong ways to succeed.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy winning. But if you can do so while positively impacting those around you, you’re deepening the value of your success. This is the same in all aspects of life, in business, sports, relationships, etc. If you are trying to win by tearing down your competitor, you turn them into an enemy, and the negative energy you released starts chasing you.

We’ve all been there, and hopefully we’ve learned from our mistakes and don’t react that way again, as failure can be our greatest teacher. If you can instead bring others along with you as you rise, if they have a vested interest in the success of your mission, you have supporters, followers and fellow leaders devoted to helping push in the same direction you’re seeking.

Melanie with Tripp

Melanie Steele is the breeder of some the top winning Greyhounds in the world, but she didn’t get there alone. Her dogs live with her and her husband, Jackson, in Palmetto Bluff and travel to shows with their co-breeder/co-owner and handler, Rindi Gaudet of Summerville, S.C.

“We make a great team,” Melanie explains. “There’s no way I could have done this alone. I’ve known Rindi since she was little girl. She’s like a daughter to me.”

Melanie’s voice was full of emotion as she relayed her gratitude for Rindi’s friendship and mutual devotion to the success of their dogs. The two have the same goal in mind, yet frequently differ on which puppy is most important to keep from a litter. Both see great attributes in different puppies that they think are critical to the future of their line, so usually, both stay.  A “line” of dogs is an established bloodline, which is developed by carefully breeding for specific inheritable traits.

“I believe success as a breeder is consistently producing dogs of a specific type and quality which can be recognized by others as a GrandCru dog,” Melanie says. “GrandCru” is Melanie’s kennel name, the name that identifies her bloodline and is part of the registered name of each of her dogs.  She says that generally speaking, “Success is consistently producing excellence in quality, type and temperament.”  The rules are the same, no matter the arena.

Melanie and Grange

The most recent star is “Gia” a.k.a. Grandcru Giaconda.  Gia has garnered an American Kennel Club grand championship, a Pan American championship, a FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) International championship and her Canine Good Citizenship honor.  As of the end of 2016, Melanie’s dogs have won 85 Best in Shows and 12 Specialty Best in Shows, with Gia winning over half of them alone. This past Thanksgiving, many locals boasted about the “Greyhound from Bluffton” that won the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. That’s our girl, Gia.  She also won Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in Madison Square Garden two years in a row, in 2015 and 2016.

Rindi and Gia’s mother, Era

Melanie’s first show dog was a Wiemaraner.  The dog was purchased as a hunting companion for her husband, and part of the breeder’s agreement was that he be shown and his championship pursued.  Following one of the shows, she offered to watch and transport a Greyhound for a friend. Thus began her infatuation with the breed. It wasn’t long before Melanie found herself with a successful breeding program. However, she says her greatest success is having the good fortune to be able to line-breed on a dog with the look she wanted to preserve, and the most incredible temperament she’s encountered.  She feels as though she has made a wonderful impact on the breed by perpetuating this desirable companionable demeanor.

Melanie and Rindi have proven a positive example of success. They could have seen each other as competitors and hindered one another instead of guiding each other, contributing their own experience and knowledge towards a level few ever reach.

Article by Claire Thompson